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Match Previews

MATCH PREVIEW: ASTON VILLA v LATICS

9 December 2016

Latics head to Villa Park on Saturday to try and maintain encouraging away form

  • Latics travel to Aston Villa in the Sky Bet Championship.
  • Warren Joyce’s men looking to make it six consecutive away games without defeat.
  • Old friends Warren Joyce and Steve Bruce in opposition dug outs for the first time.

ASTON VILLA v. WIGAN ATHLETIC 
VILLA PARK
SKY BET CHAMPIONSHIP
SATURDAY 10 DECEMBER 2016
KICK-OFF 3.00pm 

TICKETS - On the day purchase available, click here 
READ - Warren Joyce previews trip, click here
INFO - Information for travelling fans, click here
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PREVIEW
Warren Joyce goes to Villa Park having yet to taste defeat on the road in charge in his time in charge, after a draw at Barnsley and victory last time out against Huddersfield Town. Before that, Latics were victorious on the road at Cardiff City with Graham Barrow in interim charge, which followed creditable draws at Leeds United and Brentford. 

As skipper Steve Warnock said in the build up to this game, “We have been good on the road all season, and there’s only Sheffield Wednesday where you’d say we probably didn’t deserve a lot from the game – but even then we did score first. We certainly have nothing to fear going to Aston Villa. 

Villa have certainly had an upsurge in form since former Latics manager Steve Bruce took charge, winning four of his eight games, with three draws and just one defeat, last time out at Elland Road against Leeds United. 

They have won their last three matches on home soil, 3-1 versus Cardiff City, 2-1 versus Blackburn Rovers and 1-0 versus Fulham so something will have to give if either club’s current records are to keep going. 
Nice words from Bruce ahead of the game: “Wigan is a great club and I have been lucky enough to manage them twice, the club gave me my sparkle back.”

Latics fans will like hearing that but will be hoping their team can wipe a bit of that sparkle off again at Villa Park. 


STEVE BRUCE: I was lucky enough to manage Wigan twice - a great club

TEAM NEWS
Latics will carry out late checks on Reece Burke and Nathan Byrne, both of whom limped off against Huddersfield and were not included against Derby County last time out.  The game comes too soon for Donervon Daniels, however, who is still recovering from a knee injury.

For Villa, Richie De Laet is a long-term absentee, with Nathan Baker and Mark Bunn out as well. Striker Ross McCormack is now fit again to be included in the squad.


ROSS McCORMACK - SHOULD RETURN TO THE SQUAD

VILLA’S SEASON SO FAR
The season started with new manager Roberto Di Matteo in charge but following relegation from the Premier League, as is often the case with teams coming down, Villa failed to adapt to the rigours of the Championship and found themselves looking over their shoulder at the wrong end of the table.  Just one victory in eleven matches was alarming form and Di Matteo was replaced by Steve Bruce in early October. The resurgence in form since has been remarkable, with Villa pulling themselves clear of any immediate danger and looking to go into the second half of the season with the wind behind them.

HEAD TO HEAD
Having only ever met twice in the League Cup prior to Latics being promoted to the Barclays Premiership in 2005, Latics’ form at Villa Park since has been excellent. 

Villa were in the European Cup pomp in  in January 1981 when they defeated 4th Division Latics in the League Cup, following that in 1994 with a thumping 8-0 aggregate victory in 1994 – Latics back again in the bottom tier by then.
 
The gulf in status had disappeared by October 2005 when Paul Jewell’s men stunned Villa Park with a 2-0 win in the top flight, including a stunning long-range pile-driver from Alan Mahon late on to make the points safe. 


ALAN MAHON CELEBRATES HIS VILLA PARK STUNNER WITH GRAHAM KAVANAGH

That was followed up the following season with a dogged 1-1 draw, that despite losing Antonio Valencia to a red card as early as the 34th minute. 

The following season – with Steve Bruce in charge this time – Valencia scored both goals in May 2008 in the final game of the season, and the year after that, again with Bruce at the helm, Latics fought out a dogged goalless draw.

New season, new manager, but same score as Roberto Martinez’ first game in charge of Latics ended with a 2-0 win at Villa Park in August 2009, and it was future Villa player Charles N’Zogbia who scored in a 1-1 draw the following season, still under Martinez. 

Latics’ one league defeat at Villa Park came in October 2011, with Villa notching a 2-0 win courtesy of goals from Gabby Agbonlahore and Darren Bent.
 
But ‘normal service’ was resumed the last time the teams met at Villa Park, in December 2012, when Ivan Ramis, Emmerson Boyce and Arouna Kone were the scorers in our best ever return at this wonderful old ground. 


EMMERSON BOYCE JUMPS FOR JOY AFTER SCORING AT THE HOLTE END

So the league record at Villa Park reads: Played 8, won 4, drawn 3 and lost 1. Alas the stats at the JJB/DW aren’t quite as healthy, but we’ll leave that until the return match in March.


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